Province wants feedback on cannabis impairment in workplace, union says no need for panic

By Glenn Hicks
July 6, 2018 - 5:00pm

The Government of Saskatchewan wants the public to have their say on how best to keep people safe in the workplace once recreational marijuana is legal in October, though a union leader believes there should be no panic about the situation.

A consultation paper is now available online, letting the public give their feedback on how to address impairment at work and if there should be possible legislative changes. It says a recent survey shows people want additional steps to be taken to keep workers safe after the drug is legalized federally Oct. 17.

Bob Bymoen, president of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union, said the government was right to reach out for input, though he figured protocols are already in place to handle workplace impairment.

“I don’t think there needs to be panic,” Bymoen told paNOW. “People just need to realize that on October 17th they and their co-workers need to be safe and sober.”

He said nobody should be impaired in the workplace, whether it’s by cannabis, alcohol, or prescription medication. There are already lots of policies in place in the workplace to monitor the issue, Bymoen said.

“If you’re required to take a drug that could put you or your colleagues at risk, you have an obligation to work that out with your doctor and probably to talk to your employer,” he said.

Bymoen likened the build-up to legalization and concerns about worker impairment to the Y2K jitters among the public and governments 18 years ago.

“The world had to do all that change to get ready for the year 2000, and then we looked back on things and realized there really was no panic. On October 17, just because marijuana is legal, doesn’t give someone the right to smoke it before they go to work,” Bymoen said.

Written submissions to the government consultation paper can be made until August 31.


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